Ann's Angle

He may be 65 years old, but Sooty, the famous yellow glove puppet who was discovered on Blackpool North Pier in the late 40s, is now all set for movie stardom. A new deal with Universal Pictures has finally seen the potential in the tribe of Sooty, Sweep and Sue, plus a host of famous guest stars, and a source tells me: “We hope it will be the first of many movies.”

Vernon Kay is to sign a big-money deal with ITV that will make him the king of daytime television. A new quiz and a possible chat show, to replace the older Alan Titchmarsh, is also on the cards, but Vernon is desperate to point out he will still be doing something in the evenings too...

It looks like we’re in for a long boring summer in jail again, thanks to the new prison set being built in Coronation Street. A source tells me: “Obviously with the ‘Who Killed Tina?’ storyline, things are hotting up and we may see not one but two soap favourites in the jail once again.”

Ex-Corrie actress Michelle Collins is a new Strictly Come Dancing favourite. She let slip to me recently that she had been approached to take part a few years back but was too busy. But now she would consider it, as “I adore the show, the glamour and above all else it’s learning something new, which is right up my street.”

Earlier this year it was revealed that Aaron Livesy (played by Danny Miller) would be returning to Emmerdale and it seems the fugitive’s return comes not a moment too soon. Danny tells me: “They offered me this great storyline to return, and it involves his pal Adam Barton, so when they explained it to me I could not resist.”

Dawn O’Porter has told how she turned down the chance to appear on a US show commenting about celebrities – because she would not attack other stars. “It was for the E! Channel and I thought it was cruel to go down that route.”

June Brown has admitted she sometimes changes her EastEnders scripts to better fit her character. The actress has played Dot Branning in the BBC One soap since 1985 and is a devout Christian, just like her character. “I think it’s important, but the message should be true and genuine, which is what I try to make it.”

Downton Abbey’s Brendan Coyle is to star in a new series for French premium channel Canal+. Spotless is described as a “sexy one-hour crime drama peppered with black humour”. Brendon tells me: “The script is great and it gives me a chance to appear in something totally different.”

David Dickinson, best known for his tan and his Real Deal show on daytime TV, tells me he had hoped for more acting work after he appeared in the ITV drama Heartbeat. “I thought Hollywood may have called,” he laughed, but added, “there is still time for it to happen, don’t you know.”

Sam Bailey is set to write her autobiography. The X Factor winner’s memoirs will be published in November and Sam tells me: “A lot has happened to me and I think I have a good story to tell, so I am just hoping my fans will embrace it and buy it as a Christmas present.”

Natalie Cassidy, who plays Sonia in EastEnders, laughed when the script writers told her she would be hosting some fat-burning classes in the local gym. “It’s not much of a stretch is it, because I have been doing this for the last few years with my own DVDs and stuff.”

Mel B may be a new X Factor judge but it appears that rival judge Cheryl Cole is not happy about all the focus on her, which is creating a frosty on-set atmosphere. A source tells me: “It was meant to be Cheryl’s big year but it appears at this stage that Mel will become the more popular judge...”

Emmerdale’s series producer has revealed details of a new character, who will be brought into the soap later this year. Kate Oates hinted that the villainous newcomer, who will be introduced this autumn, could change the dynamics of the village.

At 61, Downton Abbey star Lesley Nicol has defied convention and become an international star later in life thanks to her role as frumpy cook Mrs Patmore. She laughs: “I love the fact I don’t have to spend hours in make-up and designer outfits.

Channel 5 has re-scheduled its Friday night dating show Stand by Your Man after a rocky start in its opening week. The show’s host Brian McFadden tells me: “It’s a better slot for us really. The show is quite racy and that has something to do with it.”

Despite all the mega-hype from Zig Zag’s productions chief Danny Fenton, his TV show I Wanna Marry Harry  has now been scrapped around the world due to mega-low ratings. The show, in which a fake Prince Harry looked for a bride, was described as “dismal” by US TV critics.

Sixties star Una Stubbs has signed up to host a new series in a bid to find Britain’s best amateur painter.

Expect the return of Ben Mitchell to Albert Square soon. But in true soap style, it will be a different actor playing him, a source tells me.

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